Old Pennies: What Are They Worth?

A lot of people are leaving comments wanting to know what their old pennies are worth.

It’s exciting to find an old wheatie Lincoln cent in circulation. And it’s getting slightly harder to find a penny dated from the 1960s or 1970s these days.

But how much are old pennies really worth?

old-pennies

Let’s look at some of the dates that our readers are commonly asking about…

 

Old Penny Values

If you find a penny in circulation, it will have wear.

Therefore, it really cannot be in mint condition (also known to coin collectors as uncirculated).

Here are some old penny values:

  • 1943 steel penny (this one often looks silver or white): 20-50 cents if well worn.
  • 1934-1958 no mintmark, D, or S copper wheat penny: 5-10 cents if well worn.
  • 1959 no mintmark or D Lincoln Memorial penny: 1 cent (face value) if worn.
  • 1960-1974 no mintmark, D, or S Lincoln Memorial penny: 1 cent if worn.
  • 1974-1981 no mintmark or D Lincoln Memorial penny: 1 cent if worn.
  • 1982 both heavier weight copper or lighter weight zinc core pennies: 1 cent if worn.
  • 1983-to-date no mintmark or D penny: 1 cent if worn.

 

Doubled Die Old Pennies

1955-doubled-die-cent-Photo-public-domain-on-Wikipedia.png

While penny values vary widely if they are worn, if you do find any of these old pennies, take them to your local coin dealer to get a value estimate.

  • 1955 Doubled-die obverse cent: worth several 100s of dollars even if very well worn. The 1955 doubled-die can be easily detected thanks to extreme doubling of the date on the heads side of the coin. By the way, the obverse is the front of the coin, and the reverse is the back, or tails side
  • 1972 Doubled-die obverse: look for signs of doubled images on the obverse
  • 1983 Doubled-die reverse: there will be doubling seen in the lettering on the reverse
  • 1984 Doubled ear: very hard to detect because of the design, but look for indications that Lincoln’s ear is doubled
  • 1995 Doubled-die obverse
  • 1999 Wide AM: look for extra space between the A and M in America. For comparison, look at other Lincoln cents made since 1994.

 

What Determines A Penny’s Value?

1937-Wheat-Penny-Front-Back-Photo-public-domain-on-Wikipedia.jpg

As you see, unless you were lucky enough to find one of the very scarce doubled-die pennies in your pocket change, your Lincoln Memorial pennies are worth only face value right now if worn.

Even many wheat pennies are worth just a marginal premium over face value if worn.

In general, pennies struck before 1934 are scarcer than those minted since 1934. This is primarily due to generally lower production numbers during those earlier years.

Also, many of those early Lincoln pennies saw heavy use in circulation and were not taken care of very well. So, many of the remaining early Lincoln cents are highly worn, corroded, cleaned, bent, or in other ways, damaged.

 

Old Pennies Are Fun To Collect

Just because worn Lincoln Memorial pennies and some of the later wheat pennies aren’t worth much doesn’t mean they cannot be fun to collect!

Many people find it enjoyable to keep their coins in coin folders (inexpensive coin albums that you can buy at many large bookstores). It’s exciting to fill up all the holes in the folder with coins found in everyday pocket change.

If you are looking for a really good, basic book about coins, be sure to purchase the latest edition of A Guide Book of United States Coins, by R.S. Yeoman and Kenneth Bressett.

 

More About Old Pennies

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez

My love for coins and numismatics began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I've also been studying meteorology and watching weather patterns for years. I enjoy sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about coins, weather, travel, health, and living green with others.

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Fun From Around the Web

  • Gloqui5

    I have a 1909 VDB penny….wondering how much its worth…

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Gloqui —

      If there’s an ‘S’ under the date on your 1909 VDB penny, it could be worth over $800. If there’s NO ‘S’ mintmark under the date, your coin is still worth $3 to $10.

      As for your 1904 and 1905 Indian Head pennies, they weren’t made in silver, so it sounds like somebody plated the coins or may have used mercury (which is very dangerous to touch) to color them that way. Their value ($2 to $3 in original condition with typical wear for their age) has likely been reduced significantly if they have in fact been plated with another metal or with mercury.

  • Gloqui5

    I also have silver 1904 and 1905 one cent…..r they worth anything……thxs

  • Thomas

    I have a 1908 $20 gold coin with no motto.. I was wondering how much it could be worth

    • Anonymous

      Thomas,

      Your 1908 No Motto $20 Saint Gaudens coin is worth around $1,400 to $1,600 in typical worn grades.

  • sherrill

    what is a 1918 D steel plated penny worth  

  • Deekristab

    I have a penny with a blue hue to it. Do you have any knowledge of coins like this.

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Dee –

      Toning can cause coins to have a vibrant array of hues, and this is caused due to chemical reactions with the coin’s metal. Toning that occurred naturally and over the course of many years is often a desirable thing, though artificial toning (caused by intentionally directing heat at a coin, for example, is one of many ways to artificially cause a coin to tone) isn’t usually desirable. A professional would have to evaluate the coin in person to tell if it is natural toning or not. Here’s some more info on toned coins: http://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/2010/04/indian_head_cents.php

  • Tate439

    I have an old penny the size of a quarter, what’s it’s potential value? can anyone help me out?

    • Anonymous

      Tate,

      Would you please post a pic of it here on the comments forum? We may be able to  give you a better idea as to value. Thanks!

  • jmcorbin1152009

    I have a 1951 wheat back penny, The I in united is slanted down into the F in of .   i dont know if it is an error or not can someone help please

  • donna j gring

    i have a 2009 penny on the back of this penny is a man is standing next to the whitehouse dose this have any value to it?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Donna,

      What you have is a coin honoring the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth. These are each worth only face value if showing any signs of wear. Here’s some more interesting info on the 2009 commemorative Lincoln cent series: http://coins.thefuntimesguide.com/2009/02/2009_lincoln_cent.php

  • steve

    i hace a 1919 weat penny, it has some wear but u can still read everything without trying to focus your eyes. how much is it worth.

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Steve,

      A moderately worn 1919 wheat cent is worth around 15 to 20 cents.

  • bailey247#r9

    i have a 1910 penny in good condition, is it worth anything?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Bailey,

      A 1910 Lincoln cent is worth around 25 to 50 cents.

  • man-o

    i have a 1912 penny what is it worth

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Man-o –

      A 1912 Lincoln cent has an average value of around 50 cents to $1 in heavily worn condition.

  • Katy

    I have a 1944 with no mint marker penny, a couple 1969 pennies, the first one the mint marker looks like just a dot and the other there is no mint marker, a couple 1959 pennies, one is a denver mint and the other doesn’t have one. I also have a 1972 where it looks slightly doubled around the chest area and the face, and also a 84 where the ear looks possibly doubled. Then I have a 1941, 1918, and a 1997 no mint marker that looks like the nose is larger. can you tell me if any are worth anything?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tammy.russell.31392 Tammy Russell

    I HAVE AN 1883 PENNY.LOOKS LIKE AN INDIAN HEAD ON FRONT AND ON BACK LOOKS LIKE A WREATH OF SOME SORT.IT DOESNT LOOK THE SAME COLOR OF A PENNY.KINDA LOOKS LIKE A TOUCH OF SILVER.IS THERE ANY VALUE TO THIS COIN

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hi, Tammy –

      Well, the silver color could be due to toning, especially as copper is highly prone to chemical reactions. However, an 1883 Indian Head cent with a typical amount of wear is worth around $2 to $3.

  • crystal

    hey I need some help can anyone tell me if 1893, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905,1906, 1943 pennies are worth anything..

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Crystal –

      All of your pennies except for the 1943 are worth around $1 $3 each in typical, well-worn condition. Your 1943 Lincoln cent has a value if 10 cents to $1.